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International Women’s Day

  • 8 March 2021
We speak to Schola, National Coordinator of Arrupe Jesuit Institute who inspires us to reflect on International Women’s Day.

By Zoë Carruthers

From Pope Francis appointing Nathalie Becquart as the undersecretary of the synod of bishops, the first woman to hold the post, to Kamila Harris becoming the first female Vice President of the United States, there is no denying that we have seen a triumph for women’s rights in 2021. Our world is moving forward with Women’s Rights, which is why we celebrate on the 8 March.

However, there is still a long way to go. Last year, the UN reported that almost 90 per cent of people are prejudiced towards women globally. That is why this year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Choose to Challenge”, recognising the need to do more to end gender bias and inequality.

Jesuit Mission’s International Programme Officer, Lucy Gillingham spoke to Schola, who works at the Arrupe Jesuit Institute as the National Coordinator. It is Schola’s story, and her personal reflection on women’s rights, that I ask you to be inspired by this Women’s Day.

‘There is no gain or reward for noticing that young girls growing up in Africa face societal challenges. This includes access to education, employment opportunities and family orientation. Though technological advancement and globalisation have gradually changed this narrative to a more gender friendly society, growing up as a girl in Ghana still comes with enormous challenges. I have had my fair share going through my education and job prospecting, sometimes having to decline certain job offers because of the sexual harrassment associated with it.

As a young woman, I made up my mind to surmount these societal restrictions; I had the opportunity to join Kaeme, a skin care company wholly owned and managed by a young female entrepreneur. My role at this company has challenged me to change the status quo.

It is in line with this that I opted to be part of Arrupe Jesuit Institute initiative, an NGO centered on youth education and empowerment to respond to issues of social justice, peace and reconciliation. My work began as a volunteer, but now I’m the National Coordinator.

I strongly believe in women’s leadership as a catalyst for change. The challenge I see in women not attaining higher leadership is the fear to dare, which supports my motto, “to dare is to do.” My goal is to change this narrative through my role as the National Coordinator but also by being the example that other girls and women can look up to.’

Today as we celebrate the women that have challenged society I also invite you to reflect, just like Schola.

  • How are we helping to change the status quo?
  • How are we setting an example for our future generations that will create an equal world for women and girls?

Last year, Jesuit Missions spent £40,000 empowering women with livelihood and employment skills. Learn more about our work with women in India here.

Find out how Jesuit Missions is supporting the Arrupe Jesuit Institute here.